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Can I sum up other answers on the same question, in my own answer and comment on them ?

Is that okay?

On this question, there is an answer that, after edits, references two other answers on the same question, summarizing them to one sentence each and then commenting on them.

I thought: if you had something to say about another users answer, you were supposed to comment on the individual answer (like I did here) or discuss it in chat.

I'm not trying to throw shade at another user, but I'm new here and I'm still trying to get the hang of it.

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It's definitely OK to do that in general; many users refer to other answers to the same question in our answers, for example when talking about when different methods are preferable.

In the case you mention, the comments on the other answers are to some extent critique. I would probably agree that those particular remarks could have been posted as comments on the other answers, but also (or only) posting them in the answer is fine too, because comments are not durable - they can easily be deleted and only mods can see deleted comments. If a question has many answers, visitors may only read the first one or two or few they see. They may never read the answer that says you should [...] and the critical comment on it, but they might have the same idea independently. It's probably better for a more visible answer to say something like "As (this answer by whoever)[link] suggests, you might consider doing [...], but if your situation is [...], that's not the best idea because [...]". Unless (perhaps) you're harshly condemning the other answer, pointing out that the idea comes from another answer is surely good etiquette, because you're acknowledging the author for their idea, as well as making the reference clear.

Here's a good example of an answer that critiques other answers on the same question. The author of this post didn't comment on the answers being critiqued to point out the issues discussed.

In general, rather than writing something vague like "one answer says [...]", there should be a link to the answer being talked about so that it's clear what the author is referring to. That way, as well as removing the immediate ambiguity, if the answer they are mentioning is edited in the future, readers can resolve any confusion and if necessary point out the need for a correction.

Of course, references to other answers should follow the be nice rule. If you're criticising someone's work, don't make it personal.

  • Okay great, I will keep that in mind ! – Robert Riedl Feb 26 '18 at 9:40
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In many situations it is better to comment, but in can still be appropriate to refer to another answer in an answer, as long as doing so still makes sense in the context of a living collection of answers.

By this I mean, other answers may:

  • Change over time, possibly incorporating corrections and fixes brought up elsewhere. Avoid referring to a specific issue with another answer that could be fixed in that answer.
  • Change order. Avoid referring to another answer as "the above answer(s)" or "the top answer".
  • Be deleted. Make sure your own answer is self-contained and does not rely on information from another answer to be understood. Make sure if the other answer is deleted, what you have written is not rendered irrelevant.

Remember that answers are not for commentary, and comments are not for answers; if what you intend to write in your answer does both, consider splitting the commentary off into comments, and place the part that is the answer as the answer, rather than combining both.

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